Metroid Zero Mission (GBA) - Hard 10% 0:45:42 - Andrew Bolton
Low% speed run of Metroid Zero Mission on Hard mode in 10 segments, completed on 4 December 2005. Available in five versions: normal/low quality DivX, and normal/high/low quality H.264 MPEG-4.
Producer Andrew 'ajbolt89' BoltonProduction Company Metroid 2002Audio/Visual sound, color
Ekarderif from M2K2 recently started recording a technical demo of a 9% Hard run of this game. Watching the first few segments, I was initially rather put out, mostly because I felt I could never do any of the tricks he could and that people wouldn't appreciate cart runs anymore. After talking about it in M2K2's IRC chatroom, I decided to try some of the tricks shown in his run. I think that was really all I needed; as with anyone, I was very rusty at first, taking MZM back after so long away from it. I couldn't even do some of the tricks that, while difficult, I had down very well in my prime, when I did the predecessor to this run. After playing around for a bit, I managed to get back most of what I had before dropping the game, outside of enemy damage and the like. Having decided earlier that 9% Hard on the cart was something currently outside the bounds of my patience, I looked to something that I could potentially handle, and use as a way to bring back my overall confidence in my Metroid: Zero Mission speedrunning skills as a whole. 10% Hard was my very first thought, because a while back I had attempted a 10% Hard run that used the same route as the previous world record run, and had surpassed and ended with a time that, if memory serves, was around the 46 minute mark. However, I didn't want to recycle the same run as I did last time, out of fear of boring both the viewer and myself. I had also never tried a 10% Hard run that used a Super Missile as the tenth percent, but had only heard about them. I took it upon myself to do a quick trial run, which had many mistakes but ended with a time 0f roughly 50 minutes. Considering that that was not more than a minute longer than my previously optimized 10% Hard run, I knew that if I optimized the Super Missile route I could easily surpass the older run, and maybe even the better 4 missile run I had previously completed, but not recorded.
The main reason this run is faster than the older run is because of how far MZM speedrunning has come as a whole, not simply because I've increased my personal abilities. If it weren't for all the little tricks discovered by the MZM speedrunners as a whole, I would not have beaten my old time by really all that much at all. However, I'm curious as to whether or not the old route could beat this one, and that's mostly because of the enormous amount of time saved in the zebetite/Mother Brain room due to the use of Super Missiles. That's something for someone else to try though, at least for a little while.
The segment commentary was written after each segment was completed, one at a time. It more or less just expands on what happened in the segments and gives a little bit of insight into what I was thinking while running.
Segment 1: Start -> Norfair - 00:00 -> 06:06
This is all the same as most runs, for the beginning. I fell in the acid after the first missile and I didn't get any missile refills from Charge Beamst OR the geemer before the hives; I tend to draw attention to whatever is bugging me, hence tapping R. The room after the Hive Room is where this run changes from the others: I didn't get the missile tank in there, obviously because I'm getting a super missile tank later. I had, however, messed up a couple times earlier on, so I felt I needed to play it safe. I kind of got screwed on the bugs after bombs, as well, but it's cool. I didn't use my last missile on the way back through the hive room, which made it take a little longer, but also left me with max health heading down the elevator to Norfair.
Once inside, I sort of wasted my missiles, and neglected to get the one refill I saw at the end of the room because it was too far out of the way.
In Crateria, I did everything the same as usual, but after the Power Grip I chose to leave Crateria as Ekarderif does in his 9% Hard Tech Demo, by returning to the Power Grip room and bombjumping across the gap, then leaving the way I came in. I'm not actually sure if this is any faster, but... well, anything to make the run seem new and exciting is ok by me.
Back in Norfair, I shot all the flaming droppy-type baddies and fortunately got a missile refill, which I then used throughout the room to take out those red floaty fish thingies. I hate those guys.
Saved with 6:06 on the clock, full health/missiles. Probably could have been faster, but I can deal.
Segment 2: Norfair -> Ridley - 06:06 -> 09:44
I had to redo this seg a lot, mostly because I'd run out of missiles or something like that in the room before the larva. Everything went fairly smoothly this time however, I even got the first shots off on the larva where you aim straight up and hit the very edge of the vine. I did, however, take some damage, which had to be remedied at the bug pipe right inside Ridley.
I also had a little bit of trouble with the dessgeegas right before the super missile, mostly because I was in a rush to finish the segment and became reckless. In any case, I took a hit, then saved without max energy.
The main reason I decided to just save instead of restarting is because I can refill anything I'm not max on at the chozo statue before the Ridley battle, which doesn't take all that long anyway.
Segment 3: Ridley Battle - 09:44 -> 11:37
It's fairly rare to get a super missile refill on Ridley as it is, so I didn't want to strain myself and try to get a good battle, while still continuing the segment beyond the battle itself.
Going right into the battle, I unload what I've got, then take out his fireballs. The basic strategy here is the same as in a 9% run: try to get as many missile refills onscreen as possible, then use them one at a time (as in, pick one up, shoot both missiles, then get the next one). This obviously allows for the maximum amount of shots to connect in a single volley of his fireballs.
However, it makes a huge difference where he is when he shoots the fireballs, as far as how many shots I'll be able to get off. If he's just turned around, I have a max possibility of getting 8 missiles off on him. However, if he goes halfway across the room and shoots them at the wall right in front of him, they all end up bunched together against the wall, so I have no choice but to get them all at once.
As this is a super missile run, though, I wouldn't accept any battles where I didn't get a single super missile refill; I want it to look like it's actually helping. As I finally got one off at the end there, I was satisfied with the battle as a whole, and chose to accept it. It should be good enough, in any case.
Segment 4: Ridley -> Kraid - 11:37 -> 18:29
I found right away during practice runs that holtz likes to give out super missile refills if you kill him with a super missile. I did need to leave Ridley with one though, as I find it hard to get them outside of it and didn't want to refill.
Once back in Norfair I proceeded as always through the shaft back to the top, then rolled left through that room. I was one missile short of full at that point, but the little polyp spewers on the ground always leave a missile refill, but take a missile to destroy... obviously that works out pretty well. I took a hit before leaving but...
The first room here in brinstar has three pipes, which are nice for refilling on the move, which I did. On down to Kraid's area.
Once in Kraid, I proceeded on to Acid Worm as per usual. I would normally have saved before him, but the last segment was so short, and Acid Worm is the main reason I lose time on this run, because he refuses to give super missile refills. That means that every time he comes up the max damage I can do to him is 2, and while I start with a 7 damage hit (rather than 4 as in a 2 missile run), that obviously doesn't make up for what little difference there is.
After killing AW, I went back to the beginning shaft, then down and left, moving onward toward Kraid himself. I fortunately received a super missile refill, so I didn't have to refill at the unknown item statue. In the room with the sidehoppers and rios, I made a point of not killing every enemy, as that takes a lot longer and isn't necessary.
Saved before Kraid, because this segment is already long enough and the Kraid strategy for this run is difficult to perform consecutively.
Segment 5: Kraid Battle -> Tourian - 18:29 -> 21:01
Because the Kraid battle has different stages, the last of which involving him going nuts and destroying my platform, I figured it would be best to save my Super Missile for the last hit.
However, because the game defaults to super missiles when I run out of normal missiles, I had to press select every time I collected a missile refill. This is the main reason the battle is difficult, just making sure I press select when I need to.
The battle, in terms of missile volleys, looks something like this: 2, 3, 3, 7.
After the battle, I proceeded as normal, but took damage from the googly-eyed sonofabitch due to carelessness.
Back in Brinstar, I hurried up the purple shaft, putting my power grip to good use, the refilling at the chozo.
Saving obviously makes sense just inside Tourian, as the Metroid are next. :(
Segment 6: First half Metroids - 21:01 -> 24:33
I sorta got screwed on the super missile refills, but this segment was solid enough I chose to roll with it. It's also incredibly difficult to get off right, so even when I would get super missiles I'd get all excited and use it, then just plunge into the three other metroids I assumed would die from the first super. *cough*
That bit at the end was... pretty awesome, as far as playing goes. I love when I get surrounded and manage to come back beautifully, always feels rad.
Segment 7: Metroids, Zebetites - 24:33 -> 28:05
Once again, super missiles = no. I wasn't feeling too good about this seg as I got to the end of the Metroids, pretty much to the point where I don't want to talk about it... but at the same time I was so frustrated with it I stopped caring.
This is what led me to include the zebetites in the same segment; I felt that the 7 seconds saved by not saving would, hopefully make up my poor metroids a little bit, but only if I got lucky refills on the zebetites.
Which, I feel, I did. I didn't really want to make them their own segment in any case, since it would be short and boring, so that was another reason for me to do it. After the third zebetite, when I got hit three times, I was cursing my luck, but I got insanely awesome refills off the rinkas so I was cool with continuing from there.
The last little bit went pretty well too, considering it was tacked onto the end of the Metroid segment. Overall, not a perfect segment, but a good one to be done with.
Segment 8: Mother Brain -> Post-Stealth - 28:05 -> 35:57
Because the last two segments weren't exactly of supreme quality, I felt it more or less necessary to extend this segment beyond the save point just inside the Mothership, as I did with my 100% run (although, the main reason for doing it there was so I didn't need to recharge... but that's beside the point).
The Mother Brain battle itself was, I felt, pretty sweet. Lots of neat avoiding turret fire and the like.
As far as the escape goes, I have no idea what was wrong with my hand but I was NOT getting those walljumps off... really sort of embarrassing. Sorry guys.
In the Mothership, I managed to skip the map, which is always nice. I did get unnecessarily detected in the... third pirate room, where I missed ANOTHER walljump, but not too much time was lost by avoiding it where I did. I also got detected, obviously intentionally, by the eye-scanner thing on the wall, which gained me a bit of time since I don't have to sit around anywhere waiting for them to get off my tail.
Overall, a successful segment. While no super missile refills on MB, they're rare to the point where I don't care. I'm pleased I managed to top the Mother Brain segment from my 100% run (or anyway, I feel like it's topping it, so that's good enough).
Segment 9: New Suit -> Pre-Iron Ted - 35:57 -> 41:27
Initially I figured a segment that was just the new suit, and nothing else, would be a waste of time (just like having a zebetites only segment). I figured it wouldn't be to hard to include it in the same segment where I reach the final save point. Looking back on this segment though, I can confidently say this: I was wrong.
While not the most frustrating segment of the entire run (that would be either of the metroid segments), it was definitely a difficult one. This is mainly because, when separated, the Chozo Test (as I call it) and just getting to the last save are fairly easy, but the frustration of the occasional messed up Chozo Test tacked onto the initial difficulty of just making it to the last save point was a little bit stressful.
In review, the segment turned out about as good or bad as it could have; I could have been more lucky on the Test, as far as when it lit up, but that's just luck. I could also have probably moved faster through a few rooms, but as a whole this whole part is fairly straightforward. I do like the room where the paths of this run and the 4 missile 10% run split, and I go down, mostly cause I just burst into the room, fall right in front of the pirate and just blow a hole in the ground.
I was having a little bit of difficulty with the very last couple of rooms, mostly the vertical shaft below the save point I ended in.
As for the time, in comparison to the test run I did before this recorded run (which I finished with a time of 45:49, 3:24 faster than the previous world record of 49:41), I'm 23 seconds ahead here at the last save, meaning at this point my goal of a time around 45:3x seems achievable. Hope this works out.
Segment 10: Iron Ted + Escape - 41:27 -> 45:42
Alas, not quite a 45:30 run, but... well, I'm not too concerned. I killed Iron Ted on my first battle attempt, so I was willing to go with it, if only to avoid further stress from this run... I wanted to leave this experience feeling good about speedrunning again, and it seems to have worked.
Right into the battle with Iron Ted, I seemed to get really lucky as far as where he was shooting his laser (after his chest cavity had been blown open, of course). It's really rather random, as far as what order he goes in... there's four directions he'll shoot the laser: Up at a slight angle, straight across, down at a slight angle, and down at a sharper angle (45 degrees). The pattern he usually sticks to (as in, about 80% of the time) is across-across-down slightly. If he's in that pattern, he'll also occasionally go nuts in the last bit of his life and shoot four times, with the fourth shot being down at a sharp angle.
Another of his patterns that I've noticed is just up-up-up, which he'll occasionally switch up by shooting one slightly down, but more or less tries to blow open the ceiling for some reason. I'm not really sure what exactly causes him to fall into one of the patterns, but I always more or less rejoice when he decides to play dumb and shoot up the whole time, as he did in this case.
Getting the super missile there at the end was a sweet way to finish him, as well as allowing me to leave the battle with 2 missiles to shoot the stupid robot with.
As for the escape, I did fumble around a bit in the room after the very first pirates, as far as shooting the blocks goes, but the rest went relatively smoothly. In the room connected to the save point, I dropped down on top of a pirate and my shot hit him probably about 1 frame before I would have hit him, which was really rather neat.
I didn't get shot by the bombus at all either, which was nice, because while I can take a shot from them before dying, I usually get a little tense after the first one. Overall, the escape went nicely, and I ended the run with a quick mid-air morph into the ship. I didn't mean to. It just sort of happened... but I don't really mind.
Overall, this run was an enjoyable experience. I'd like to thank SABERinBLUE for the moral support, as well as Nate for capturing it and Radix for hosting it, and the rest of the Metroid 2002 community for making the Metroid series as a whole worth my while, to this day. I hope you enjoy this change of pace, as far as MZM runs go. I certainly know I did, and it's nice to feel good about MZM again, rather than bashing it every chance I got.
The end time was 45:42, only seven seconds faster than my practice run's time, which means I obviously lost... a lot of time in that final segment. While I could go back and redo it literally right now, I won't simply because I want to leave a little leeway for both myself, if I want to do another run of this type in the future, or for anyone else who might be "insane enough to try it", as the m2k2 kids like to say. Good luck to any competitors, because there are definitely several places where this run could be cleaned up.
Captured by Nate.